Already the email invites for work gatherings and friends’ soirees are popping into the inbox. While some of the invited are plotting what outfits to wear, YOU’RE plotting how to get out of them. Because you realize you’re going to know exactly one person at this party, and you’d rather do Facebook at home in your jammies.
But think about THIS: When you open yourself up to a stranger, you are opening yourself up to all sorts of possibilities — like the cool new job you wouldn’t otherwise have heard of, OR, if you’re single, perhaps meeting the love of your life.
SAY HELLO: This might sounds easy but it isn’t — there are few things more scary than walking up to someone you don’t know and introducing yourself. And yet, it’s the only way for a conversation to start. Be brave. ‘The first thing to do is draw on common ground, and be neutral.
DON’T FEAR SMALL TALK: ‘Everyone you meet is a portal to another world and small talk is what opens the door. Don’t be a snob about it. Stick to weather, work and holiday. While it’s good to talk about what’s going on in the news, be aware that some topics might encroach on people’s political and personal beliefs, so be careful.
BE ORIGINAL: Try opening up with questions like ‘Who would your celebrity mom and dad be?’ or ‘What era would you most liked to have lived in?’ Spend time thinking about these openers before you go the party. One popular one is, "are there any shows you like to binge-watch?'
BE CURIOUS: Be interested in the person you are speaking to and you will never be stuck. Talk to people about themselves and they will listen for hours. You might also learn something new and broaden your horizons.
FEEL FREE TO INTERRUPT: That doesn’t mean you should spend hours listening to someone talking about how cool their new car is. There is such a thing as an active listener — participate in the conversation and change the subject if it’s getting boring. You could interrupt the owner with: ‘Sounds great, where do you like to drive it? Do you go to the country? I’m more of a walker myself...
GET BEHIND THE JOB TITLE: Don’t make judgments about how much you are going to have in common with somebody based on their job. If you’re talking to somebody new, try going the whole evening without asking them what they do.
TAKE OFF YOUR MASK: Share intimate and honest thoughts without worrying about being judged. That doesn’t always mean you have to do a rundown of the inner workings of your mind — but it means revealing something of yourself. Besides, saying that out loud can build a sense of self confidence in you.